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This Is How Much Coffee You Can Safely Drink Each Day, According to New Research

New research from the University of South Australia suggests coffee consumption can influence your risk for heart disease. How much is considered harmful?

Associate Editor
woman drinking to-go coffee
Photography by: Westend61/Getty

There has been plenty of research on the health benefits and setbacks of coffee—for years, health professionals have debated on just how much we should be drinking each day. New research from the University of South Australia has explored the role that coffee consumption plays on heart health and overall cardiovascular health. In the process, researchers have found new evidence that might finally establish a cap on how many cups you should enjoy daily. According to their findings, which were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking more than five cups of coffee per day will negatively impact your heart health and increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

 

The research surveyed data provided by the United Kingdom Biobank of more than 347,000 people between the ages of 37 and 72. It also pinpointed data from participants carrying a gene known as CYP1A2 (which enables people to process caffeine more than four times faster than those who do not have it) in order to determine if that gene could enable them to drink more coffee without adverse health effects. When participants began drinking six cups of coffee or more, researchers found that a coffee habit became an inhibitor for heart health, and increased the risk of hypertension—or severe high blood pressure. Drinking more than six cups of coffee upped the risk of heart disease by 22 percent overall—and even those with the special caffeine-busting gene weren't able to avoid health risks, the study found.

 

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Lead researchers said that many people already associate jitteriness and other negative side effects with too much coffee, but other experts have pointed out that too much coffee might also affect you in the workplace. "Five cups of coffee and more may bring on worsening symptoms, including anxiety, agitation, headache, rambling speech, and excitement," wrote Stacy Lu in this article for the American Psychological Association.

 

Previous research has indicated, however, that drinking a moderate amount of coffee can actually provide holistic health benefits. Published in The BMJ, a 2017 study from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Southampton found that consuming up to four cups of coffee per day is "more likely to benefit health than harm it." The same research found that those who drank three cups experience a lower risk of heart disease and several forms of cancer, including skin, endometrial, liver, and prostate varieties. The research also suggested that those who drank coffee were at a lower risk of type-2 diabetes, liver disease, and gout. Much like other dietary staples, a daily coffee habit won't negatively impact your health—as long as it's enjoyed in moderation.